Oh, hi. We didn’t see you come in. We were just going through the Friday Movie Pile, and — what’s that? The Friday Movie Pile? Why, that’s where we dump all of the week’s new movies onto the floor and sort them out. It’s actually pretty self-explanatory. Join us, won’t you?
Red Sparrow (R, 2:19)
Plot: A Russian spy specially trained in the art of seduction targets a CIA officer. Since Russia and the CIA are involved, you know there’s gonna be torture. It got the equivalent of an R rating in most countries, even the ones where it’s OK for kids to see sex.
Director: Francis Lawrence (no relation to Jennifer, Vicki, or D.H.)
Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Matthias Schoenaerts, Charlotte Rampling
Features Jennifer Lawrence As You’ve Never Seen Her Before (Nude and Russian): Yes
Includes a Bowling Ball-Assisted Death: No
Buzz: After mother!, this is another outside-the-box choice for J-Law, and so far critics are meh: 53% of reviews at Rotten Tomatoes are positive, and the average score at Metacritic is 53/100. The movie may look like an Atomic Blonde-style spy thriller, but evidently it’s more (or less?) than that. Man, you never know with the Russians.
Death Wish (R, 1:47)
Director: Eli Roth (Cabin Fever, Hostel)
Stars: Bruce Willis, Vincent D’Onofrio, Elisabeth Shue, Dean Norris, guns
Includes a Bowling Ball-Assisted Death: Yes
Buzz: They didn’t screen this one for critics until Wednesday night (not a good sign), so reviews are just starting to trickle in: 13% at Rotten Tomatoes, 28/100 at Metacritic. This is why we never touch the sacred works of Charles Bronson.
Foxtrot (R, 1:10; in Hebrew)
Plot: Parents in Tel Aviv learn that their soldier son has been killed in action. We won’t spoil anything, but Israel’s Minister of Culture publicly denounced the film for the way it portrays Israeli soldiers, so there must be something juicy going on.
Director: Samuel Maoz (Lebanon)
Stars: Lio Ashkenazi, Sarah Adler, Yonathan Shiray
Is About the Foxtrot Comic Strip: No
Buzz: This is technically a 2017 film, having played for a week in New York in December to qualify for awards consideration, which it didn’t get (not here, anyway; it did well at the Israeli Oscars). Every review recorded at Rotten Tomatoes so far is positive except for one, and its average score at Metacritic — its average score — is 91/100.
The Vanishing of Sidney Hall (R, 1:57)
Director: Shawn Christensen (whose previous movie was called Before I Disappear, so apparently vanishing is a recurring theme)
Stars: Logan Lerman, Elle Fanning, Michelle Monaghan, Kyle Chandler
Buzz: This premiered at Sundance last year, simply called Sidney Hall, before being picked up by the usually shrewd distributor A24. The reviews aren’t pretty: 13% Fresh at Rotten Tomatoes, 22/100 at Metacritic.
Oh Lucy! (NR, 1:36; in Japanese and English)
Director: Atsuko Hirayanagi
Stars: Shinobu Terajima, Josh Hartnett, Kaho Minami
Buzz: Here’s a good example of the limits of Rotten Tomatoes’ binary system. Oh Lucy! has a 100% Fresh score, which sounds amazing. But that doesn’t mean those reviews are all raves, just that they’re more Fresh than Rotten. The average score is 6.6/10, or 68/100 at Metacritic. Critics mostly like it, but nobody loves it, you know?